The use of physical measures (such as locks and tamper-proofing) or policies (such as Clean Desk) in order to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access.

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161
votes
12answers
42k views

How is an ATM secure?

I'm curious why an ATM computer is considered secure. The general adage of "If an attacker has physical access to my machine, all bets are off," seems to not apply in this circumstance (since ...
137
votes
8answers
15k views

How should I set up emergency access to business-critical secrets in case I am “hit by a bus”?

I work as the primary developer and IT administrator for a small business. I want to ensure that business can continue even if I suddenly become unavailable for some reason. Much of what I do requires ...
109
votes
12answers
23k views

What's to stop someone from 3D print cloning a key?

My friend just posted a picture of her key to instagram and it occurred to me that with such a high res photo, the dimensions of the key could easily be worked out. Therefore the key could be ...
104
votes
8answers
19k views

My school wants to keep the details of our door authentication system a secret. Is that a good idea?

So, I am designing a door authentication system (can't really go into more detail) for our school, so that only authenticated persons can go through a certain internal door. They hold that its inner ...
91
votes
13answers
10k views

Why do we lock our computers?

It's common knowledge that if somebody has physical access to your machine they can do whatever they want with it1. So why do we always lock our computers? If somebody has physical access to my ...
81
votes
9answers
12k views

Secure USB cable for charging in untrusted environments

On a long haul flight, I imagine that charging a phone (in flight mode) with the inbuilt USB port on the head rest would be a security risk. Could I mitigate that risk by taking a regular USB cable ...
80
votes
14answers
11k views

How can I protect myself from false accusations when our company practices password escrow?

During an internship for a small company, my boss created an account for me, so I generated a password and I used it. The next day, my boss told me to write down the password of my account on a piece ...
75
votes
8answers
18k views

How is 'Removing RAM' a security risk?

Today I was watching a video on 'Ethical Hacking' where, while discussing hardware attacks, the narrator said: Removing RAM or components from a desktop or a laptop Here's a screenshot: I ...
75
votes
6answers
11k views

Can a lock picker slowly undermine the security of a deadbolt door?

I have a space for computers secured with a simple deadbolt. Someone keeps coming to pick the lock. While working there, I have scared them away three times. There are cameras, but not in useful ...
75
votes
5answers
6k views

Somebody bumped into me, next day my storage unit was burglarized

While I was walking in the street, somebody carrying a laptop bag bumped into me, and the next day I found out that my storage unit was burglarized and some important items were stolen. My storage ...
54
votes
9answers
7k views

Why would security cover things like natural disasters?

I'm taking a course which is designed with the CISSP certification in mind. Though the class is categorized as software engineering, we talked a lot about physical security and, in particular, floods, ...
49
votes
8answers
30k views

Are powerline ethernet adapters inherently secure?

I have 2 Zyxel PLA407 powerline adapters. Router is downstairs connected to one adapter, other adapter is upstairs about 30 feet away connected to a desktop. I have a house, not an apartment or ...
42
votes
11answers
9k views

Is it possible to turn a computer into a bomb?

I know this newspaper article sounds absurd. Even if a machine is compromised we (should) have hardware safe guards in all our devices to prevent the software from damaging the hardware. But is it ...
42
votes
8answers
5k views

Is physical security less important with disks on a server being encrypted?

If you could get physical access to a server, you could change the root/admin password even if you did not know the current password. However with encrypted disks, I don't think this is possible (...
37
votes
5answers
4k views

Risk of tampering when hardware shipment is delayed

I am currently receiving an order of computer parts in the mail including an SSD. Tracking showed that the package arrived in my town on day X, and was originally scheduled for delivery on day X as ...
36
votes
7answers
7k views

Is it possible to improve brute-force guessing of a password with a picture of the keyboard used to enter it?

Is it a bad idea to post a photo of your keyboard to social media? Can I look at a photo of a keyboard and determine the password of an account? Assuming a certain (set of) password(s) is the most ...
36
votes
3answers
2k views

Evaluating the security of home security cameras

My parents have a vacation home out in the country and are looking to setup a home surveillance system for remote viewing. I've heard that there can be serious vulnerabilities in these products. What ...
34
votes
13answers
7k views

Laptop Anti-Theft Measures

A law firm I've been in contact with has recently been broken into 3 times in the past 4 months. In spite of a number of laptops and other equipment containing sensitive information being stolen, the ...
33
votes
3answers
2k views

How can you judge the physical security of a padlock?

I recently learnt to pick locks. Eager to test out my skills, I tried picking a padlock I'd been using on a secure storage box for a number of years, and found that it only had one pin - I can get ...
32
votes
7answers
7k views

Methods for protecting computer systems from physical attacks

I am interested in cost effective and creative ideas for detecting physical attacks against computer systems. This includes, but is not limited to Tamper Evident security measures. Consider the ...
31
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there any guidelines for passwords that need to be read out loud?

I recently saw the movie Olympus Has Fallen. Like in many action movies, at the end a missile is launched, and the hero (Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler) has 60 seconds to recall the launch in ...
29
votes
2answers
32k views

Is there any way to tell if CCTV is on or not?

Is there any way that an attacker can identify if a CCTV camera is on/operational without direct physical access to the cable/camera? If it is on, is there any way an attacker can tell if its being ...
28
votes
2answers
3k views

Can a connected USB device read all data from the USB bus?

Is it possible for a (malicious) (hardware) USB device to access all the data that is transferred through the USB bus and then read/store this information, essentially sniffing all transferred data? ...
26
votes
7answers
2k views

Protecting critical state infrastructure from the aftermath of a nuclear blast

Countries rely on computer infrastructure for a huge percentage of communications and military management, as well as utilities like electricity. Unfortunately, nuclear attacks release massive ...
25
votes
5answers
4k views

How does a clean desk policy provide security benefits?

I'm starting to study for Security+ using Darril Gibson's book. I took the pre-exam and one of the questions is “What is the most important security benefit of a clean desk policy?” The choices are: ...
24
votes
12answers
6k views

Is it possible to prevent unauthorized copying or recording of data by photographing screens?

I am thinking on a way which would prevent unauthorized copying or recording of data by photographing screens. I also think, if the content of a screen is understable for an eye of a living human, it ...
24
votes
2answers
61k views

Disabling/Destroying CCTV/IP Cameras with Lasers?

@D3C4FF has asked a great question and I would like to follow up on that. Basically he had asked whether "[...] an attacker can identify if a CCTV camera is on/operational without direct physical ...
24
votes
1answer
12k views

High-frequency noise deterrents

I've found that walking past certain boutique stores in my city that some places have installed very loud high-frequency noise generators. These cause a fair amount of discomfort for passers by that ...
23
votes
7answers
1k views

Securing the security guy's home office: what should we do?

I read an article in the latest InfoSecurity magazine (an infosec trade rag by Elsevier) saying that us security professionals aren't necessarily taking the correct steps to protect our own home ...
23
votes
5answers
4k views

Does multiple numbers per button have an effect on security?

I recently came across an electronic deadbolt like this: The keys have multiple numbers per button, 1|2, 3|4, 5|6, 7|8, 9|0 Is there any way that this increases the security of the electronic lock? ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

What are the alternatives to door passcodes?

Passwords have been a problem since the dawn of computing. They tend to be either so complex that no one can remember them, or so obvious that anyone could guess them. ... Some users ...
23
votes
6answers
2k views

How to secure a WiFi network?

What do I have to do to secure a WiFi network? Is there any best practices? I have been recommended to use WPA2 encryption on the router, is that enough? What can I do to improve the security even ...
22
votes
2answers
4k views

How do Travel Sentry locks work? (supposedly openable only by security agencies)

Apparently Travel Sentry locks can only be opened: by their owner, by the TSA, CATSA and "other security agencies". How do they work technically? Is there some electronics embedded with ...
21
votes
9answers
1k views

What's a good way to trigger a hidden 'distress signal' in instant messaging?

Here's the scenario: Alice and bob use Off-the-record messaging to communicate over IM. The have: Encryption Authentication Deniability Perfect forward secrecy They communicate after ...
21
votes
2answers
6k views

How can vending machines be hacked? And how can I prevent it?

I am developing a vending machine and want to make it secure. In a comment to my previous question, @Polynomial said "Vending machines (and similar devices) can often be pwned via buffer overflows on ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Securing an area both physically and technically

I work for a commercial printing company, and we're beginning to get a couple jobs labeled "High Security". Essentially this means that if any pictures/information/files/etc. of the product were ...
19
votes
2answers
4k views

Why did the Papal conclave use a Faraday cage in 2013 when selecting the new pope?

The Wikipedia article about Faraday cages has this anecdote: A Faraday cage was used in 2013 by the Vatican to shield the Sistine Chapel from electronic eavesdropping during the secret papal ...
17
votes
3answers
54k views

Can law enforcement track a criminal through dynamic IP address?

I ask because a week ago my home was broken into and, among other things, my iMac computer was stolen. I am desperate to get it back because it has all the pictures of my daughters from the last ...
17
votes
2answers
27k views

What is the difference between types of motion sensors?

So i understand there are a number of different motion sensor technologies out where including Active Infrared (AIRs), Passive Infrared (PIRs), Microwave motion sensors and Ultrasonic motion sensors. ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you prevent physical backups from being stolen?

I'm sure, by now, we're all aware of the need to encrypt backup disks, but what can be done on the physical security side of things to prevent backups from being stolen or damaged? Particularly: ...
16
votes
3answers
948 views

Risks of Mullions in High Security Areas

I have a storage space full of information assets. The room itself is sound; there are no windows, the walls go all the ceiling, and there is only a single entrance with two good stout doors and high ...
14
votes
6answers
4k views

Does the US government protect its physical internet lines in the US?

It seems like there are lots of ways to prevent man in the middle attacks. I've read many on here and on the rest of the internet. According to wiki you need a secure channel as well to completely ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

How to protect source code locally when traveling with it [duplicate]

I will be traveling abroad for several weeks on a business trip as a consultant. I will carry a laptop with an IDE and all the necessary source code so I can make changes on site (which is the ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it possible to prevent a physical attack on full disk encryption?

I've been researching into some methods to ensure that disk encryption keys can't be stolen, and one that I've come across is called TRESOR. With this kernel patch, you can create a partition that is ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

In what cases can overly strict security policies be detrimental to organisations?

In a philosophical sense is heterogeneous security, a system where people are given more autonomy, better than security policies/procedures written in stone? I've worked at some companies where ...
13
votes
2answers
328 views

Establishing routines on what to do if a PC gets stolen

I need to establish routines for how to handle theft of PC equipment, specifically laptops and stationary machines. Also I need to figure out how to make the consequences of stolen equipment minimal. ...
13
votes
2answers
409 views

What does banking etc. server room protection look like? What happens if it fails?

Given that information security is derived from physical security, as evidenced by this theft, I'm curious as to what protection surrounds my bank account? There are two main avenues I'm interested ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I prevent someone from accessing a Windows XP system via boot disk?

Apparently a computer system protected by a a login password, e.g. Windows XP, can be easily hacked by someone with physical access to it using methods like this one: http://www.raymond.cc/blog/...
12
votes
1answer
731 views

Slot machine segfault: what can we determine?

We walked into a casino and saw this near the entrance. I don't have a specific question, but is there anything that would be interesting to share and explain from the image?
11
votes
6answers
11k views

Is it safe to use virtual machines when examining malware?

We want to study for the CEH program and have downloaded 12 DVDs that 6 DVDs are software key-loggers, Trojans, etc. that are all detected by antivirus. This prevents us from examining them and ...